The Precipitron

A Short History of Domestic-Electric Air Scrubbing

Precipitrons, or electrostatic precipitators, are a common, if hidden, air scrubbing appliance, nested within nearly 66% of today’s homes. This series looks back the technical, historical, and cultural contests linked to this oft invisible air-cleaning technology; an exploration of the socio-technical construction of atmosphere, enclosure, and air-quality regulation found in our everyday duct-work.


Meg Studer conducted the research and developed the article (below) and presentation (above) as part of her on-going interest in the climate control, especially focused on industrial/domestic technology transfers. It included boards, booklets, and annotated environments as on-going research into the anthropocene appropriation of lithics.

  • 2016, Geologic Cities, Studio-X NYC (Columbia University).
  • 2016, “The Precipitron,” Pittsburgh AIA, Pecha Kucha.
  • Forthcoming: Atlantic’s ‘Object Lesson‘ series.
  • d3.js – geocoding and quantitative maps from contemporary epa emissions records
  • ai/psd – annotations, summary graphics, and style standards
  • archives – Heinz History Center (Westinghouse periodicals), Pitt Archives (Smoke Abatement Society)

Particulate & (Neo)Liberal Pollution Controls

Related projects
All Projects